So here I am, just hours after learning of the passing of my father unexpectedly. Sitting in an airport lounge, halfway around the world (literally), waiting for my flight home to be with friends and family which will hopefully make things easier….
I learned of my fathers death from my uncle, who had called and left a message on my phone for me to call. He had also called and left the same message for my sister. As many families, we had our differences and didn’t necessarily get along, but in the end we were family.
While my father and I might have had a strained relationship, due to many factors, some outside either of our control, we talked and those other things never got in the way. When we would talk, it was always a good conversation, even if it was one of those difficult times and the conversation was superficial. No matter what, we always had something to talk about, even if it was just college sports.
My memories of my father are vast. As they say, you really only remember the good times, and there were many! Here are some examples:
- I remember sledding down the hill in the backyard of our house on Chestnut Hill Rd. and making it only a couple feet from the house, I must have been maybe 3 at the most.
- strange, but I really do think I remember him changing me as a small child (same house as above), on the counter of the bathroom with pink wallpaper and koalas. I must have been maybe 2..?
- He used to take me to sports events, and if it was outdoor, it was guaranteed to rain. We went to some doozies! I got to see Muhammad Ali, shot hoops on the floor of Madison Square Garden, you name it. Going to the Army Navy game at Westpoint was a regular thing growing up!
- At one Army/Navy game, the guy next to me had an umbrella so I was dry. My father sitting in the rain getting soaked, sat there the whole time since I was dry and having fun.
- Helping my sister get her clog unstuck from the mud at the nature preserve in Westchester.
- Him turning green after my sister and I insist he ride a ride with us at Playland.
- Attending shows at Westchester Premier Theatre growing up. I got to meet everyone (list is too long, but let’s just say met Frank several times and sang with Dianna Ross).
- Early in my life, he always had the coolest cars: a series 1 Camaro (yellow with black stripes), a Saab Sonnet 3, etc. Maybe this is where I got my love of cars…?
- I remember helping him put his sock on when he had his knee fixed and was in a cast from hip to toe
- Later in life, it was my father who took me on my college tour to see where I wanted to go.
- In college, he used to call just to tell me a joke and would then end the call.
- he gave me a bunch of “bad jobs” growing up to teach me what I didn’t want to do for a living (working in the gas fields of Kentucky, a coal mine (stip mine, not deep mine), just to name a few)
- took me to Vegas for my first time, well before I could gamble. I remember standing next to the table and watching him gamble (that’s how long ago it was, I was allowed in the casino)!
And that’s just a short list…. so many more memories!
With the passing of my father, not only is he gone, but so is a whole trove of family history I never had a chance to get from him. My grandmother passed only a couple months ago, and of course I was thinking, “I can always ask my dad about X ancestor”. Now that opprotunity has passed….
The last time I saw my father was years ago, but again, we talked. He turned 79 only a week ago, to the day of his death, and I talked to him just after his birthday (I was traveling and in the air at times when I could call). We actually chatted for quite a while, it was a really good call.
At the end of the call, we both said “I love you” (those were our last words), so it’s not like those relationships where you hear folks last convo’s were a fight, etc. It ended well and he knew I loved him and he me, in our own dysfunctional way.
Bye dad. It was to early and I am not prepared for your loss. I would have liked to have many more conversations. I’ll still talk to you I’m sure, I hope you are listening, but I’m sad you won’t answer!
P.S. I’m sure there will be edits to this!